QCOSTARICA – The chief of the San José Policía de Transito (Traffic Police), Luis Guillermo Vega Barrantes, is headed to jail, sentenced to 12 years in prison by the Tribunal Penal de Heredia (Heredia Criminal Court) on three counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
The judges acquitted Vega of a fourth count.
The incident occurred between September 2009 and April 2010 when the victim, who is mentally retarded, was between 16 and 17 years of age.
In 2010, the 51 year old police chief who was married at the time, admitted to his girlfriend, the mother of the girl, of having sexually abused the teenager.
In sentencing, the presiding judge, Oscar Mario Vargas, said the statements of the mother and the victim were a factor in convincing them of Vega’s guilt.
The sexual abuse came to light when the mother suspected something wrong when, on one occasion when Vega was leaving the house took too long to say goodbye to the young girl. That same night, Vega confessed to her of the sexual abuses, that included asking the minor to show him her body parts and under the nightgown rubbing his genitals on her buttocks.
“When you were in the kitchen, you told (the mother) you were going to say goodbye (to the minor) and took longer what she considered due. She found it strange that when you left the room she realized that the door was closed because she saw you open it,” the judge in related the sentencing statement.
“The Court has given you the minimum sentence,” said the presiding judge, given that the accused has no prior criminal history. The other two judges on three judge panel were Olman Ulate and Antonio Ortega.
Vega, who sat alone at sentencing when his lawyer failed to show, was not remanded to custody, is free on the condition of signing in every two weeks, surrendering his passport and not leaving the country, until the appeal process has completed.
The Court also awarded the mother of the minor ¢2 million colones in punitive damages.